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Go Ahead! Make My Day!:
By Christina Paxon

What is teaching like today? Who should do it? And who shouldn't? This Education World series features essays on teaching by teachers as they answer the question, "If you had it to do all over again, would you still become a teacher?"

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Go ahead, make my day Mrs. Paxon thought, driving up to school. It already had been a tough week -- and it was only Wednesday. Please, somebody make my day, she begged silently as she made her way from the car to her classroom.

Just then, three of her students, Denise, Heidi, and Jamie, popped out from behind a bush and screeched, Hi, Mrs. Paxon!

We saw you drive up, added Heidi.

You girls, what am I going to do with you? Mrs. Paxon pretended to be displeased, but the girls knew otherwise from the big smile on her face.

Mrs. Paxon had so much on her mind. She was attending college classes in the evening so she could obtain her Masters degree. Even though she enjoyed learning, it was a ton of work, on top of her other responsibilities. She was always busy with church, her family, and of course, her job. Mrs. Paxon likes to say that teachers have more homework than students ever will. The planning, the grading, the recording

She also says, however, that teaching is the most rewarding thing shes ever done. What CEOs get to watch their customers grow up right in front of their eyes, get to accept crayon drawings of themselves, or get a visit from their former customers years later -- just to say hello? Those are the things that make Mrs. Paxons day.

Not too long ago, following what Mrs. Paxon thought had been a mediocre lesson (How exciting, after all, can learning about writing standards be?), Brandie, a shy and adorable little girl in her class, came up to her and said, Mrs. Paxon, I just wanted to say I really enjoyed that lesson.

What? Mrs. Paxon replied in disbelief.

I really enjoyed that lesson. Thank you for teaching me how to be a better writer, Brandie sweetly said.

In shock, Mrs. Paxon said, Are you serious? After a quick nod from Brandie, Mrs. Paxon continued, Well, youre welcome. You are very welcome. I am glad you enjoyed it. You just made my day!

Its moments like those that have kept this teacher going. The hugs, the visits, the original artwork, the unconditional love. How could anyone ask for more?

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Christina Paxon

Christina L. Paxon graduated from the University of Central Floridas College of Education in 1988 with a bachelors degree in elementary education. Currently in her 7th year of teaching, she began her career in Orlando, Florida, at the Lake Eola Charter School, where she taught language arts and science to students in grades 3-5. She later relocated to Clearwater, Florida, where she taught 3rd grade at Skycrest Elementary, a public school in Pinellas County. After a 6-month hiatus traveling with Up with People, Paxon returned to teaching; serving as instructional media specialist at Park Maitland School, a private school in Orlando, Florida, where she designed and implemented a literature enrichment program. In 2001, Paxon moved to California; she currently teaches 4th-grade general and gifted education at Los Alamitos (California) Elementary School. In August 2005, she will receive her masters degree in teaching and learning from National University. y

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05/16/2005